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JetBlue to drop service in some cities, reduce LA flights to focus on profitable routes

The tail of a JetBlue Airways Airbus A321 is shown as the plane prepares to take off from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

(WISH) — JetBlue Airways has announced plans to discontinue services in several cities and scale back operations from Los Angeles, aiming to consolidate resources and concentrate on more lucrative markets following sustained financial losses.

An executive informed employees on Tuesday that these adjustments will also assist the airline in managing the grounding of certain aircraft for Pratt & Whitney engine inspections.

Effective June 13, JetBlue will cease operations in Kansas City, Missouri; Bogota, Colombia; Quito, Ecuador; and Lima, Peru.

The Associated Press quoted Dave Jehn, JetBlue’s VP of Network Planning saying the following to employees via memo “These markets are unprofitable and our aircraft time can be better utilized elsewhere,”

In June, the New York-based airline plans to discontinue service to various destinations from Los Angeles, such as Seattle, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Miami. Additionally, it will stop flights between Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Atlanta, Austin, Texas, Nashville, New Orleans, and Salt Lake City, as well as service between New York and Detroit.

JetBlue has faced significant financial challenges, reporting losses exceeding $2 billion since its last profitable year in 2019. Despite attempts to expand through partnership and merger opportunities, these efforts were thwarted when the Biden administration’s Justice Department intervened with lawsuits aimed at blocking both deals.

In May of last year, a federal judge mandated the dissolution of the partnership forged between JetBlue and American Airlines in Boston and New York. Subsequently, in January, another judge halted JetBlue’s acquisition of Spirit Airlines, citing a violation of antitrust law due to the proposed $3.8 billion deal.

Robin Hayes, the mastermind behind these unsuccessful ventures, resigned as CEO in February, with Joanna Geraghty assuming the leadership role. Disheartened by the setbacks in court, JetBlue, now under Geraghty’s helm, is shifting its focus towards independent growth, a process expected to be considerably prolonged.

Even prior to the change in CEO, investor Carl Icahn had begun acquiring nearly 10% of JetBlue’s stock, securing two seats on the airline’s board for his faction.

Struggling to enhance its operations, JetBlue found itself ranked ninth among the ten largest airlines in the nation for both canceled flights and on-time arrivals last year, as per data from the U.S. Transportation Department.